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‘Ramp to Ramp’ River Clean Up Day- April 29, 2023

Unfortunately, trash happens. 

We hate to see it, and we never litter intentionally (most of us, anyway). But the fact is, we have to clean up after ourselves, and after others, from time to time. 

And in the Gunnison Valley, our waters are our life, figuratively and literally. 

 The Ramp to Ramp River Clean Up is an annual event hosted by the Gunnison River Guide Coalition. GRGC is a group of river enthusiasts and local guides founded by Patrick Duke in 2019, with a mission of advocating for the Gunnison River guide community and fishery habitat.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, several of Dragonfly Anglers staff joined a group of eager guides and friends of the river to remove trash, debris, and pollutants from the banks of the Gunnison River from Almont to Blue Mesa Reservoir. 

Most folks filled a large black trash bag with riverside goodies, and others filled several. Occasionally, we found big-ticket items (strollers, fencing, or rogue lengths of 2×4 lumber), but the bulk of our haul was pieces of micro-trash plastics and copious amounts of empty beer cans. 

Photo Credit: Eli Wilder

All in all, this group of amazing people piled trash high on a 12 x 7 raft trailer and hauled it to the dump.

The event wrapped up with food and drinks donated by the Gunnison Angling Society TU Chapter, and a raffle to raise money for future GRGC efforts. Last year’s raffle proceeds were used to print these signs, which will be posted around the Gunnison Valley to educate anglers about the importance of paying attention to water temperature and appropriate fish handling.

Educational signs on display at the post clean up raffle. Photo Credit: Patrick Duke

The importance of picking up trash cannot be overstated. Rivers are a vital source of freshwater, providing water for millions of people, supporting diverse ecosystems, and driving economic activities such as fly fishing in Crested Butte and the Gunnison area. 

However, rivers are often subject to pollution from a variety of sources, and, unfortunately, littering of trash on the riverbanks happens too often.

By removing trash and debris from rivers, participants helped to improve water quality and protect the lives of trout. Additionally, picking up trash keeps our rivers beautiful and helps maintain one of Colorado’s best fly fishing destinations.

We are eager to continue the efforts to clean up our rivers and promise to go the extra mile to pick up trash whenever it is found. 

Team Dragonfly pledges to live by these three principles more specific to angling:

  1. Never litter. Even a banana peel, an apple core, or spent sunflower seed shells go into the trash, not on the ground or in the water. 
  2. When we snag in a tree or on a rock, we do everything reasonably possible to retrieve our tackle rather than breaking off and leaving it there. Pack out all spent leader and tippet material.
  3. Most importantly, leave it better than you found it. This is the main goal of the “Ramp to Ramp”.

Patrick says GRGC’s efforts are best represented by the ‘leave it better than you found it’ principle. “I think all of us who show up can agree that little if any of garbage we pick up is our own, but taking ownership in our public lands and giving back to the places that bring us so much is our duty as guides and land users. I hope this event resets the “Leave it better than you found it” mentally at the beginning of the summer and we stay dedicated to it all season. As guides and consistent river users we have the opportunity to be stewards as well. We set an example every day on the water. Setting a good example of proper sustainable river use is vital to building a community that respects our public lands.”

To learn more about the Gunnison River Guide Coalition and to stay updated on future events, click here.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the day.

Team Dragonfly

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Fly fishing is one of the best things to do in Crested Butte, and we are thrilled about the upcoming season. At Dragonfly Anglers, we employ only the best Colorado fly fishing guides who are devoted to taking care of their client’s needs and providing an unmatched angling experience. Click here for more fly fishing in the Gunnison Valley. Or click here for our most recent Crested Butte, Colorado Fly Fishing Report.